Who Should You Hire?: Small Business Agency vs Corporate Mega-Agency vs Hiring Internally

5 min read

So you’ve managed to get your company off the ground, and you’re ready for marketing help because you can’t spend all those hours in Google Ads and Facebook Ads yourself. Or, perhaps, you’re already handling digital marketing as a part of your “marketing” responsibilities and need to free up resources so you can focus on big picture stuff. Well, what do you do?

Corporate Mega-Agencies, Or “Old Media Companies”

The first thing you’ll probably do is weigh your options using one of the big national agencies, often owned by established media groups. These are often called something different, to make them seem cool and new, but really they’re the money-making arms of failing media companies. So, what’s the problem with this? Well, they represent a HUGE waste, and are filling in for a mountain of debt and years of mismanagement. Trust me, as someone who worked for these companies, it’s shocking. Sure, they have 100 people on your “team,” but let’s be real — how many people in these companies actually know what they’re doing, and how many are motivated to get you real results?

The other main point to mention is that most of these companies charge you a percentage of your ad spend as their fee. They don’t usually make it clear that this is happening, quoting your cost as the budget you told them you have — but, in fact, you typically get only 50% of that on actual ads, in some cases less. You literally have to ask them to disclose their fees to get this information.

These big companies are also desperate to hire people because, frankly, their heavy, convoluted processes mean that each person only does a few things and doesn’t know anything outside of their corporate process. Often, these people are entry level, trying to gain experience, so are learning your marketing plans as they go — can your business afford that?

The typical major media company is looking to work with companies with at least $15,000 in monthly marketing budget. Out of this, you’d most likely get $7,500 of actual ad spend on a platform. This severely limits your effectiveness, since the same amount spent directly in the platform puts you on a completely different level of results that can be expected.

In addition, each month they’ll always aim to increase your ad spend because that’s how they make more money. There’s no incentive for them to optimize your spend or tell you that you can actually reduce ad spend in any given month.

Hiring Internal Marketing Staff

Having total control over your employee and getting 40 dedicated hours per week to your marketing efforts makes sense, right? Well, take out the time you’ll need to spend training them on your company policies and practices. Also, factor in the sick time and paid leave you have to provide. Don’t forget health benefits, cost of providing a workstation, laptop, making sure they’re trained, have the software needed, keeping them caffeinated, hydrated, fed, and more!

The national average marketing salary for someone with enough experience to be successful in a lightly supervised environment is $60,000. Factor in taxes, and the other costs mentioned, and you’re starting to look at a cost of about $84,000 per employee a year, or $7000 per month. This is without ANY actual ad spend to Google or other vendor.

This might actually make sense if you have enough work for a full-time employee and get enough of an ROI to make sense. It does actually compare well to hiring a major media company to run your ads, but you’d still have to front the cost of the training, software and tools, which constantly change in marketing.

Staff are also prone to quit, take on new opportunities, or often just not be a fit with your company culture. They can also pose a liability in many ways, far too many to get into here. But in summary, when you hire someone into your company, you are responsible for their output, and they represent your company in everything they do.

The Small Business Agency, like Two Trees PPC

So, why is a small business agency the best choice for most businesses? There are so many reasons — something we’ve learned a lot about in the past three years of being in business.

We’ve actually lost pitches before from being “too small,” with that particular business opting for the large agency, just because they felt they wanted to work with a company of a similar size to themselves. It forced us to look at ourselves: Do we want to appear bigger than we are, to win big business? The answer was no. We are small by design. But don’t be fooled, small doesn’t mean lacking in resources, talent and bandwidth to get the best for our clients. In fact, it’s the streamlined size of our organization that allows us to get the best results for our clients.

We’re able to get our client requests handled and executed within 48 hours — something that takes larger agencies weeks! There’s many reasons for this. With fewer layers to filter requests through and more people understanding the intricate details on the account, we save a lot of time. Also, all of our team is in-house and have years of experience in what we do. There is no on-the-job learning since our team members have already put in years at large agencies.

Two Trees PPC has been able to stay true to our initial goal of offering high quality service for a pre-arranged monthly fixed rate. Our retainer is kept separate from ad spend, so not only do you have full transparency of what ads cost, but also so we’re never incentivized to have you spend more than you need to on ads.

Because we cut through a lot of the fluff, and don’t bundle in “value added” services to make us justify our cost, we’re able to offer retainers from just $1,500 per month. We do all this without reducing the quality of our offering. Because you’re not paying for us to learn, you’re not getting useless services. We don’t have millions of debt to repay or huge overheads. We also don’t tie you into long contracts. After an initial 3 months of working with us, you’ll be in a month to month deal — because we know at that point you’ll see the value of what we offer.

There’s a lot to consider when weighing your options of going with a small agency versus a big agency, and we’re here to answer any questions you may have. To get started working with us, call and speak to a real human on: (916) 513-8450, or use the contact page on this website!

Cecilia is a vital part of the creative machine here at Two Trees PPC. With over a decade of experience in content production and a true passion for psychology, she is no stranger to the working world and enjoys every opportunity to introduce small business owners and independent contractors to the realistic necessities of modern day marketing.

When not researching or writing for Two Trees PPC, Cecilia runs her own business as a multidisciplinary artist and content producer. She is also pursuing an A.A. in Sociology, and gives back to her community whenever she has the resources to do so.